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Head’s Welcome – Helen Carpenter

I am honoured to be leading Kingdown School, part of the mighty Acorn Education Trust. The school is an oversubscribed 11 to 18 Secondary, with excellent facilities and an experienced staff of subject specialists who enjoy teaching our students. We live our school values of ‘Believe, Aspire, Achieve’ every day. In November, we were recognised as ‘good’ by Ofsted and when you read the report, you will see some of the areas we are particularly proud of.

Teaching and learning is one such area. We achieve outcomes that regularly place us in the top ten of schools in Wiltshire for A-levels and applied courses, and for students gaining English, Maths and Science GCSEs. In fact, we are in the top 20% nationally for our Science GCSE outcomes. These results help our students go on to top universities, apprenticeships and beyond that, great careers. Kingdown alumni stretch across the world, with one former student even on the team that developed the vaccine for Covid.

Beyond these fantastic academic achievements, we know that our young people need support to develop socially and personally. Our personal development programme was also praised by Ofsted, as were all the opportunities we provide. We have up to 100 students a year on our Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme, and have over 50 after school clubs running. Formerly a sports specialist college, we know how much our students value being active and have some very successful sports teams across the year groups. Trips are offered across each year group, with future trips being lined up for Munich, Paris and Barcelona. We have previously visited Iceland, Russia, Germany and even climbed Everest with Kingdown students.

Our expectations of students’ uniform, behaviour and attitudes towards others are very high. We want students to recognise the importance of being polite, kind and tolerant of one another and model this every day.

As headteacher, I bring nearly 30 years of experience in education to the role, with over a decade in senior leadership and a decade as a Head of English. I want to ensure our students are ‘ready for the world in their time’ as our Acorn Trust values put it – tolerant, well rounded members of society with a top class education, ready to make a positive contribution and lead happy lives having been supported by Kingdown and Acorn, in partnership with parents.

I look forward to welcoming you to Kingdown School.

Helen Carpenter | Headteacher

Ethos And Values

Believe, Aspire, Achieve


Working together as a school in partnership with our students and parents, we aim to equip all students with the knowledge, skills and personal characteristics to succeed, and by ensuring all students leave school equipped with qualifications enabling progression to the next stage of education, training or employment.

As a school, we share a clear mission to bring about improvements in the life chances of our students through:

Putting our students at the heart of every decision we make

Offering our students great care and support

Delivering the highest quality teaching and learning to inspire and challenge our students, and to develop in them a lifelong love of learning

Delivering a whole-school focus on excellence at every level

Maximising students’ educational outcomes to ensure they can progress successfully

Bringing equality of educational experience to every student.

We are proud to be a part of the Acorn Education Trust. As a Trust, we believe passionately that every student:

Feels they belong

Is challenged

Develops a love of learning

Has aspiration

Makes a unique contribution to their school, and

Is ready for their world in their time.

Working for us

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Even if we don't have a post now, we could do in the near future and we would love to contact you and tell you about it. You could be working at one of our great schools and become part of the Acorn Education family. We are always interested to hear from those who find our ethos, approach to inclusivity and support of our staff fits with their idea of a great place to work. By joining our School Talent Pool we'll know you're interested in working here when a future vacancy occurs. Join our School Talent Pool now!

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The Acorn Education Trust was formed in August 2014 to create a local solution to a national strategy. Through close collaboration and a shared vision we believe each school will achieve great things while retaining their individual identity. Underpinning this close collaboration is a strong belief in our core purpose.

School improvement is the key to school effectiveness and is at the heart of the process of raising standards. It allows us to deliver an education for all children/students that is of the highest quality. The Acorn Education Trust is driven by its core purpose of improving outcomes and life chances for students and believes that an effective School Improvement Strategy is the key to unlocking the potential in its leaders, staff and children/students. An effective Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) uses the School Improvement Strategy to help ensure accountability, drive strategic thinking and deploy resources in order to improve outcomes for its children/students. Our leadership and management of each school is based on three principles:

Every school is an improving school

Leadership at every level is critical

The unique identity of each school must be preserved

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